Somewhere between the Super Bowl commercial where Mindy Kaling tries to kiss Matt Damon and the one with the puppy who’s best friends with the horse, Nationwide aired a commercial in which a child stares at the camera and tells all the life milestones he won’t have, because, “I couldn’t grow up, because I died from an accident.”
Well, that took a turn.
The ad ends with ominous images of an overflowing bathtub and a fallen TV, while text on the screen warns, “The number one cause of childhood deaths is preventable accidents.”
Naturally, it made everyone feel sad and confused:
My reaction after the nationwide commercial: pic.twitter.com/1UDv45zmZB— James C. Statton (@jamescstatton) February 2, 2015
McDonalds: "If you hug your dad, your meal is free today." Nationwide: "Your dad just died."— Tilly In Bloomington (@BigLiciousT) February 2, 2015
"You just won the Super Bowl where are you going next?" "I'm going to Disneyland!" *son dies of measles* ��Nationwide is on your side��— todd molé (@toddmolay) February 2, 2015
Nationwide now released a statement explaining the ad: "Preventable injuries around the home are the leading cause of childhood deaths in America. Most people don't know that. Nationwide ran an ad during the Super Bowl that started a fierce conversation. The sole purpose of this message was to start a conversation, not sell insurance...We knew the ad would spur a variety of reactions. In fact, thousands of people visited MakeSafeHappen.com, a new website to help educate parents and caregivers with information and resources in an effort to make their homes safer and avoid a potential injury or death."
They continue, "We're serious about [the issue] and we wanted the ad to reflect that...If you go funny or lighthearted with this topic, it might offend people, but beyond that it might not be effective in breaking through and creating awareness of this problem. We chose a more serious tone precisely because it will be so different than most commercials during the Super Bowl...It's a hard thing to talk about, but it's an even harder thing to have happen, so we wanted to make a serious and appropriate ad."